Bob’s Pick: Blowing the Bloody Doors Off by Michael Caine
Imagine that you’re at a small dinner party populated by celebrities. You’re seated at the dining table about to pop a scrumptious looking hors de oeuvre, perhaps a caviar coated cracker, into your mouth, but who should take a seat directly across from you. Seated before you is none other than Sir Michael Caine.
As you sip on your Bollinger champagne, he starts to narrate to you his life story. Listening to his voice, you think that you’re at his country estate located in the English countryside. However, your dog starts barking and wakes you up to reality. You’re really at home seated in your favorite easy chair and you’ve actually been sipping a Budweiser and eating pretzels.
Still, listening to the melodious voice and English accent of Michael Caine, you’re easily transported back into his world and his life story.
Other than being one of my favorite actors, Michael Caine, winner of two academy awards, is arguably one of best of his generation. His parents were poor and he struggled most of the early part of his life. He worked in a number of small theatre productions in and around London until he got noticed and made his first big screen appearance in the movie, “Zulu”.
In his narrative, Mr. Caine is very sensitive to his humble origins, especially to his Cockney heritage and accent. Great Britain in the 1960’s and 1970’s was very class oriented. He had to hide his cockney accent, especially in films like “Zulu”. He swears he hid it completely in that film, but after re-watching it myself, I did detect it in a few scenes. I still found his performance completely enjoyable and if he hadn’t mentioned it, I don’t think I would have ever noticed. With the advent of Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, it’s nice to think that social attitudes may have finally changed for the better in England.
After “Zulu”, Mr. Caine in his early career appeared in a number of successful films, including “The Ipcress File”, “Get Carter” and “Alfie”. An Oscar eluded him, however, until he teamed up with director, Woody Allen, in 1986 for the production of “Hannah and Her Sisters”. There, he won the Oscar for best actor. Funny thing though, he didn’t show up to pick up his award as he was working hard on another film, the much regrettable and forgettable, “Jaws, the Revenge”. From there, he went on to star in many other film, stage and TV roles, thus showing his versatility as an actor.
Throughout his narrative, Mr. Caine takes us through the ups and downs in his life including successful films and flops. Based on his experiences, he is always dispensing advice. His advice is aimed to inspire both novice actors as well as the average man on the street. He always puts his best foot forward in any endeavor and advises his audience to “use the difficulties” in life to make things better. In other words, when life deals you lemons, make lemonade.
If you’re looking for gossip, this isn’t the book for you. It appears that Mr. Caine enjoys privacy for himself, his family and his friends. You are rewarded with glimpses into their lives with occasional stories about such luminaries among others such as John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Sean Connery, Shelley Winters, Jack Nicholson and Roger Moore. I found one of the more amusing stories to be about John Wayne and the advisability of a celebrity wearing suede shoes.
In summary, Michael Caine, is a rare breed in the acting community. He has been married to his wife for over 45 years and has helped successfully raise two daughters and their children. His work ethic is unimpeachable, his movies pleasurable and his advice worth treasuring. I really enjoyed being able to rub elbows with Michael Caine even though I must say that his Bollinger tasted more like Budweiser,